Friday, May 16, 2008

News - 05/16/08...


Why post this, you ask?


Milt Neil was my animation teacher when I went to the Joe Kubert School back between '81 and '84. For those who don't know Milt's work, he's worked on many of the early Donald Duck shorts for Disney, including the Oscar winner Der Fuhrer's Face, and about 4 pages of his work is featured in the book Treasures of Disney Animation Art. He also worked on Pinocchio, Fantasia, Saludos Amigos, Dumbo, and The Three Caballeros.

He left this world in October of 1997, but his lessons, through his teachings and through those who just enjoyed his work, will forever remain. He is, and always will be, one of my primary inspirations.


Comedy Central Gets Atom TV

During its UpFront presentation, Comedy Central announced that it has added Atom TV to its 2008-2009 lineup. Bringing the best shorts and webisodes from to the tube, the show will premiere on Monday, June 2 at 2 a.m. The cable outlet will also air its popular three-part South Park saga as South Park Imaginationland: The Movie, complete with new material, on Sunday, July 27 at 10 p.m.

A division of Viacom’s MTVN Entertainment Group, AtomFilms is a pioneer in online video. The site has hosted a number of widely viewed animated shorts, including JibJab’s 2004 election parody, This Land, Aardman’s Angry Kid and Star Wars fan film favorites including Star Wars Gangsta Rap. More recently, the site hosted Kung-Fu Election, an interactive game and animated music video featuring bloody death matches between presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mike Huckabee.

The South Park “Imaginationland” will, for the first time on network television, be aired as a feature-length, director's cut film featuring previously unaired footage created specially for the movie. The network hopes the additional material will entice fans to tune in again to watch Kyle, Stan, Cartman, Butters, Al Gore and Mel Gibson as they follow terrorists to the gates of hell in a bid to make the world safe for everyone's imagination. The trilogy of episodes originally aired in October and brought in about 10 million viewers, delivering Comedy Central’s highest ratings of the year. Comedy Central Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment released “Imaginationland” on home video in March. The special DVD release is uncensored and includes additional footage created exclusively for the DVD.

Toei Preps Six Different Kitaro Movies

Fans of the popular otherworldly Japanese series Kitaro will have six reasons to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the property next year. According to Daily Variety, a new animated feature titled Gegege Kitaro—Nihon Bakuretsu! (Gegege Kitaro—Japan Explodes!!), will be released in six different versions, one for each major region of the country.

Originated as a popular manga by Shigeru Mizuki, Kitaro has been a huge hit in different forms—comic book, live-action, animated TV series, features and video games. Five different animated versions of the show have aired in Japan through the years. Last January, a new anime series titled Hakaba Kitaro began airing on Fuji TV’s Naitamina slot. A live-action movie based on the property earned over $23 million at the Japanese box office last year.

The book's storyline centers on a young boy who is the last living member of the Ghost Tribe. Although he’s missing his left eye, his hair usually covers the empty socket. He fights for peace between humans and yokai, the tribe of spirits and spooks that live in the countryside. The six different versions of the movie will feature different forms of Neko Musume (Cat Girl), the hero’s girlfriend. For example, in the movie made for the cold Hokkaido region of Japan, she will be an ice maiden, while she will be portrayed as a geisha in the version prepared for Kyoto. According to the story, Toei had to search 47 locations for the six different versions, which increased the production time to two years. Japanese moviegoers will be able to take in the six different versions of the feature this December. For more info, visit

Win a Signed Garfield Animation Cel!

In celebrating Garfield’s 30th Anniversary and today’s home video release of Garfield: A Cat and His Nerd, Fox Home Entertainment and Paws Inc. have given Animation Magazine an original Garfield animation cel signed by creator Jim Davis! What’s more, they’re giving it away to one lucky fan!

Garfield: A Cat and His Nerd features 15 episodes from the popular Garfield & Friends television series revolving around America’s favorite lasagna-loving cat, his faithful mutt Odie and proud, yet goofy, owner Jon. In the 30 years since Davis debuted his weekly comic strip, the characters have appeared in several animated televisions specials, a Saturday-morning cartoon series and two major motion pictures mixing live action and CG animation.

In addition to the 8x11 hand-drawn cartoon, their contest winner, along with four runners-up, will receive a free Garfield: A Cat and His Nerd DVD.

To enter their drawing, just email along with your name and contact information. Please put "Garfield" in the subject line of your email.

Los Angeles Film School Offers Game, Animation Degrees

The Los Angeles Film School has added two degree offerings for students interested in working in video games and animation. Begining this September, students will be able to sign up for an associate of science degree in game development or an associate of science degree in computer animation. The new degrees will join the school’s recently introduced associate of science degree in film.

The Game Development associate's program will cover the process of creating a video game from the initial stages of game structure and preproduction to advanced coding, artificial intelligence and game engine creation.

The Computer Animation associate's program will allow students to learn an animation pipeline like those typically used throughout the industry to create art and special effects for games, television and film. Students will get training in advanced modeling software to create virtual models, characters and visual effects for a variety of multimedia applications.

“These degrees are a natural addition to the curriculum at The Los Angeles Film School,” comments Los Angeles Film School CEO Diana Derycz-Kessler. “Game developers and computer animators have stories to tell, much like our filmmakers.”

Founded in 1999, The Los Angeles Film School is located in the heart of Hollywood at the historic RCA Building on Sunset Boulevard. The private post-secondary educational institution boasts a faculty of industry professionals instructing students on the craft of filmmaking in state-of-the-art facilities.
For more information, go to

New Dragonball Photos Online has posted a new scan from Japanese magazine Weekly Young Jump which includes a better version of the previous photo of Justin Chatwin as Goku, as well as another photo of Goku and a first look at Emmy Rossum as Bulma. Written and directed by James Wong, the big screen adaptation also stars James Marsters, Jamie Chung, Eriko Tamura, Joon Park, Chow Yun-Fat, Texas Battle, Randall Duk Kim and Ernie Hudson. It opens on April 10, 2009. You can check out the full scan by clicking the link above!

Elsa Pataky Cast in Captain Thunder

The Hollywood Reporter says Spanish actress Elsa Pataky has been cast as the superhero's girlfriend in Maltes Producciones' $30 million Captain Thunder. She will play Sigrid of Thule, a Viking princess.

Walt Disney Motion Pictures Iberia holds Spanish rights and first option on U.S. distribution for the adventure movie based on Spain's most popular comic book hero, known as "Captian Trueno" in Spanish.

Captain Thunder is a 12th-century knight-errant who wanders the world fighting injustice and is accompanied by his faithful friends Crispin and Goliath.

The movie will start shooting in July 2009 at Spain's new studio facilities Ciudad de Luz in Alicante.

Jackson, Del Toro Host Hobbit Chat

Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro are inviting fans to a live Internet chat about the upcoming film The Hobbit, which Jackson is producing and del Toro is directing. During the chat, billed as "An Unexpected Party," Jackson and del Toro will answer questions from participants and listen to comments about the film.

Based on the book by J. R. R. Tolkein, The Hobbit is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings and centers on the adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Del Toro has signed on to direct two separate installments.

The chat is being hosted by Weta, the special effects house currently working on The Hobbit. Fans can register for the "Unexpected Party" at the company's official Web site.

JLA's Brody Back In A Flash?

Adam Brody, who was connected to George Miller's now-stalled Justice League movie, told reporters that he'd still like to play the character of the Flash should the movie go forward, but that he has no inside knowledge about when that might be.

"I am a huge George Miller fan, and I'm a huge comic fan, so I'd still hang in," Brody said in a group interview on the set of Jennifer's Body in Vancouver, Canada, on May 13. "But maybe I won't be. I know Ryan Reynolds was attached to The Flash for awhile, and then I got the part, and then I read on the Internet, 'Oh, he's no Ryan Reynolds! He's the only Flash.' So if I don't do it, hopefully in a year or so it'll go to somebody else, and he'll get s--t for not being me, and I was the only person that could ever have conceivably been the Flash."

Brody was one of several young Hollywood actors who were linked with Miller's superhero movie, which is now on hold.

When asked if he'd consider playing a different superhero in the proposed adaptation of the DC Comics franchise, Brody laughed. ""F--k Ant Man, man," he said. "As for other heroes? There are a lot. I'm trying to think more in terms of graphic novels off the beaten path. They're making a lot of them. But as I kid, I mean aside from The Flash, which I like, who's always been a dream, would be to be Spider-Man. I always associated the most with Peter Parker. The rest are all [cool]. I mean, I could never be Batman, obviously. So they're making a lot of awesome graphic novel movies that maybe I could be in, but the only one that from a kid that I've always been jealous of is Spider-Man."

Brody is currently wrapping the horror movie Jennifer's Body, which is slated to open in 2009.

PBS Kids Sprout Adding "Olly" to Schedule

PBS KIDS Sprout has picked up US broadcast rights to Taffy Entertainment's Dive Olly Dive!, a CG-animated preschool show. The series is about the adventures of two submarines-in-training.

Dive Olly Dive! will debut on June 7 as part of the network's The Let's Go Show.

"Les Nuits Magiques : The 18th International Animated Film Festival"

The 18th International Animated Film Festival “Les Nuits Magiques” will take place in Bègles, France (near Bordeaux) from December 3 to December 14, 2008. All animated short and feature films, directed after December 31, 2006, are eligible.

We accept 35mm (optical sound), video BetaSP Pal or DVD formats. Foreign films are eligible only if they are without dialogues, with French dialogues or subtitled in French. Entry is free.
You can participate in the competition before August 31, 2008 using the following links :

Online registration with

Print entry form

Entry forms can be mailed to us at the following address :

13, rue LHÔTE

Regulations of the competition

Contact us for more information :

It’s a great DVD, Charlie Brown

TV Shows on DVD has posted the new cover art for the September 2nd release of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition. This DVD will include a bonus Peanuts TV special which is expected to be You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown.

Animation Book Look

The Second Annual Animation Book Look, a unique author/artist signature book signing event, will be held on Saturday, May 17, 2008 in Sherman Oaks, CA. Co-hosted by Van Eaton Galleries and The Creative Talent Network, Animation Book Look is a gathering of authors and artists from the animation industry.

Animation Book Look provides an opportunity for professionals from the publishing and animation industries to promote themselves and their art to fans, collectors, and art aficionados. This festival of book signings and art(ist) sightings is the only event of its kind in the country, featuring appearances by well-known visual and literary artists, as well as, “undiscovered” animation authors.

This years’ event will bring more than 54 artists/authors to the signing table with over 75 books showcased, ranging from children’s books, artist’s sketchbooks, and illustration, to fine-art, “how to’s” and “history of’s” all under one tent.

The Animation Book Look signing and sales event will be held at Van Eaton Galleries, 13613 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 on Saturday, May 17, from 1:00 pm-6:00 pm. The event is free, but RSVP’s are suggested by contacting Van Eaton Galleries at (818) 788-2357.

Lyn Kroeger, 77, was early woman artist at Disney

Lyn Kroeger, an inbetweener and assistant animator at Disney and other studios, died March 29 at 77, Jeff Massie, recording secretary of The Animation Guild, said Wednesday.

Born in 1930, she started at Disney in 1954 as an inbetweener on the feature film Lady And The Tramp, released the following year.

Kroeger was among the first women to break the gender barrier to get artistic jobs at Disney, said TAG business representative Steve Hulett: "Until not long before this, women artists were only considered for ink-and-paint or other non-artistic jobs." However, like many other women at Disney, she did not receive a film credit at the studio.

Her female colleagues at the House of Mouse included Nancy Stapp, Ruth Kissane, Janie McIntosh and Eva Schneider.

Following the release of Lady And The Tramp, Kroeger resigned from Disney. Until she left the industry in 1984, she inbetweened or assisted at numerous other studios: Quartet, Melendez, Murakami/Wolf, Haboush, Levitow-Hansen, Duck Soup and Hanna-Barbera.

SpongeBob lawsuit doesn't hold water with judge

An artist's claim to be the force behind "SpongeBob SquarePants" is all wet, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled Tuesday.

Fairfield, California resident Troy Walker failed to prove that his Mr. Bob Spongee, The Unemployed Sponge, the comic strip and dolls that he created in the 1990s, were the basis for Nickelodeon Studios' children's show, United States District Judge Susan Illston decided in a summary judgment.

Walker said that he plans to appeal his copyright infringement claim against Nickelodeon Studios Inc., Paramount Studios Inc., Viacom International Inc. and Stephen Hillenburg, the show's creator and producer.

According to Illston, Hillenburg created a sea sponge character called "Bob the Sponge" in 1989 -- two years before Walker drew his comic strip. SpongeBob SquarePants first aired in 1999.

While both characters were humanlike sponges, their features, story lines and clothing were different, she said. The judge added that Walker hadn't proved Hillenburg had ever seen his 1991 comic strip, which consisted of four black-and-white panels.

Illston observed that SpongeBob lives in a pineapple at the bottom of the sea, and that he works as a restaurant cook. The yellow guy has a pickle-shaped nose and two buck teeth. He also sports a shirt, tie and pants.

On the other hand, Bob Spongee is unemployed, Illston notes. He lives above ground in a house, goes around without clothes, and has a dot nose and a line for a mouth.

"In sum, the court holds that the similarities between the two characters are limited to the stock elements used to humanize a sponge, and that the dissimilarities are so significant that, as a matter of law, defendants are entitled to summary judgment," Illston wrote.

"What happened today was a tragedy. The legal system definitely let us down today. SpongeBob is based on my work that I created years before," said Walker, 41.

"We're very pleased with the outcome of the case," Nickelodeon spokeswoman Marianne Romano said.

According to Romano, SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most popular series in the history of children's TV. Its Saturday morning broadcast is currently the top-rated program among children 2 and 11 years old, she added.

An artist and marine biologist, Hillenberg said in court papers that he created "Bob the Sponge" for an educational comic book in 1989, while he was an instructor and staff artist at the Orange County Marine Institute. He said he began turning Bob the Sponge into SpongeBob in 1994 while working on another animated series for Viacom.

Hillenberg pasted copies of the strip on 1,000 novelty sponges in 1992, selling his creations at shopping centers, street fairs, roadside stops and flea markets in the San Francisco Bay area. He copyrighted the comic strip in 2003.

A request by Viacom to force Walker to pay the defense attorney fees was rejected. "The court finds that this case was brought in good faith," Illston said.

CMG Bets on SHAX’s Louis La Chance

Cinema Management Group is putting good money down on a new CG-animated feature about the Monaco Grand Prix. The international sales outfit signed worldwide sales rights to Louis La Chance, a $16 million CG-animated feature produced by SHAX France and LuxAnimation.

Directed by veteran French toon helmer Philippe Leclerk (The Rain Children, Princess of the Sun) and Xavier Aliot (Exit), the movie follows the adventures of Louis and his brother Remi as they make plans to enter the 1934 Grand Prix with their dad’s restored Bugatti using a new racing fuel invented by Remi. Along the way, they have to fend off the nefarious plans hatched by their opponent, Baron Franz Borgstein, and the evil dictator, Hash.

The film was developed by Aliot and Hugues Sauvaire, who co-founded SHAX France in 2006. Specializing in 3D animated feature films, SHAX is also in production on an 85-minute animated CG-animated film titled Sarila in collaboration with its Canadian and English partners 10th Avenue and CarpeDiem in Canada, as well as U.K.’s Charactershop.

“Louis La Chance is funny, thrilling, and action-packed,” says CMG exec Edward Noelter, who is shopping the film in Cannes this week. “It’s a timeless story of young heroes doing the right thing and with the worldwide fan base of Formula One racing, it’s being made for kids and adults of all ages. As with the animated hit Hoodwinked, which CMG represented for international sales back in 2004, I see this as a wonderful combination of warmth, humor and excitement.”

For more information, go to

LEGO Indiana Jones Demo Online

With Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hitting theaters next week, Microsoft Corp. and LucasArts are offering gamers an exclusive playable demo of the upcoming LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures games for Windows. Fans can go to or to get a sneak peek at all the whip-cracking fun to come.

The full game will include more than 60 playable characters and dozens of memorable Indiana Jones scenes. The title is rated E-10+ for players age 10 and older, and will hit store shelves on June 3. Indy fans can also catch a new four-minute, CG-animated short film titled Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Brick, which will premiere during Cartoon Network’s Toonami block on Saturday, May 10 at 9 p.m.

LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is the latest addition to the LEGO gaming franchise, which includes the hugely successful LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. The new game is published under Microsoft’s Games for Windows label, which gamers have come to trust for easier installation, widescreen compatibility and support for Windows Vista Parental Controls and the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows. More information can be found at

Kahani World Makes A Splash in Cannes

Indian production entities are creating a huge presence at this week’s international film market in Cannes. According to recent figures released by the country’s National Assoc. of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), more than 50 animated features are currently in development for India’s domestic theatrical market. "Certainly 12 to 15 animated movies will be on screen in the next two years," says Biren Ghose, CEO and president of Kahani World. "We aim to produce seven of those releases."

With offices in Mumbai and Bangalore in India and Thornhill (Ontario, Canada), Kahani World has in place a robust model which allows the production of several projects simultaneously, according to Ghose. “Our unique business model includes in its execution and financing strategy the participation of production companies,” he says. “These studios and the key creators become part of the investment program in developing and producing the projects. This will bring them an exponential return as compared to being just an outsourcing studio.”

Kahani World is poised to reap the benefits of seven major projects in its pipeline. Slated for the first quarter of 2009, Secrets of the Seven Sound, a joint venture with Virgin Comics, is an epic adventure feature which centers on the exploits of two brothers and their attempts to save a kidnapped princess. Renowned Indian luminaries Deepak Choprah and Shekar Kapur are attached to this mo-cap and CG-animated feature. Other titles under the Kahani World banner include Raju the Rickshaw, Coderman, Game Access, Chipkali [Gecko] World , I-Prin and Ashati—the Asian Princess.

Kahani World has acquired and deployed digital asset management and movie pipeline processes from the “best in the West,” says Ghose. “The Indian film industry has been an early adopter of animated techniques particularly in using vfx for live-action movies and short-form animation. The country’s organization and understanding of animation techniques is growing at an unprecedented rate.” For more information on the studio and its properties, see

"Aqua Teen Hunger Force" Creates Another Public Nuisance in Illinois

Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force is causing another controversy with civic officials, this time in Urbana, IL. Stickers for the show have been popping up on street signs and buildings throughout the city, which is creating extra work and straining budgets for the Urbana Public Works department. According to an employee for Public Works, over 300 of the stickers have been taken down so far, and that a sticker on a reflective street sign can damage the reflective coating as it is removed, which can incurg a cost between $10 and $100 for replacement.

Turner Broadcasting stated that any advertising in the town was unsanctioned. The article suggests that the stickers are for an upcoming DVD release, even though there are no new DVDs scheduled at this time. In 2007, an advertising campaign for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie triggered a bomb scare in Boston, MA, which ultimately led to the resignation of Cartoon Network head Jim Samples.

International Museum of Cartoon Art Moves to OSU Cartoon Research Library

Mort Walker's International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA) has finally found a home at Ohio State University's Cartoon Research Library. The 200,000 piece collection contains original drawings from comic strips, comic books, animation, editorial cartoons, and more. Adding the IMCA's content to OSU's Cartoon Research Library will result in the largest collection of original cartoon art in the world.

Walker is the creator of the Beetle Bailey newspaper comic strip, and his collection has been essentially homeless since 2006, when the museum lost the space it was to occupy in the Empire State Building.

Jon Favreau Still Not Signed to Iron Man Sequel

As of Tuesday morning, Jon Favreau is still unsigned for a Iron Man sequel.

“They haven’t offered me anything yet,” Favreau told Howard Stern. “They’re all talking - they want to do it, they even announced a date.

After much harassment from Stern, Favreau revealed that he made $4 million for the first film and has a NET profit deal which would give him a very small percentage of the money once the film begins to turn a profit. But Farveau says he won’t see any money of that Net profit money for years, if at all. Jon claims that while Elf cost only $32 million to film, and made over $125 million at the box office, the film technically still hasn’t made a profit yet. That’s shady Hollywood accounting for you. Favreau estimated that Iron Man was probably made for around $140 million. And while all the stars of the first film are signed to three films, Farveau admits that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to come back.

“They’re all signed for three but it doesn’t work that way. That all goes out the window when you make $100 million dollars,” said Favreau. “Because people want to have a good relationship with the people they are working with, and if they’re making that kind of money, it’s an understanding that they’re going to negotiate.”

Favreau also confirmed that if he were signed on for a sequel, he is interested in taking on the infamous Demon In a Bottle storyline.

'Incredible Hulk' video game footage and pics!

The new 'Incredible Hulk' movie game from Sega looks SMASHing, and we've got the video and gameshots to prove it!

'The Incredible Hulk' game from SEGA comes out for all platforms in June 2008.

Visit the official Web site at for more info.

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